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  1. #11
    Two23's Avatar
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    I have a couple of thoughts, having shot medium format for a number of years and also using a Leica:

    1. There is one less stop of DoF when you move from 35mm to MF. I.e., f4 on MF will look like f2.8 when shot on 35mm.

    2. The mirror on the Pentax is a big heavy thing. You can easily hear it go "WHOP!" when you take a shot. I generally use mirror lock up when shooting at speeds slower than 1/100s.

    3. MF has more detail, and will quickly show your deficiencies in less than perfect focus, unsteady tripod, etc.


    Kent in SD

  2. #12

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    Well, the reason, based on decreasing probability is:

    1.) The graininess of the smaller negative gives you the impression of more sharpness.

    2.) The bigger format forces you to use either slower shutter speeds (for the same DoF), or wider apertures.
    Add to that the huge mirror slap (compared to Leicas), so it's easier to miss focus or have motion blur.

    Another possibility could be flare and contrast.
    Maybe the particular lens you used in MF flares easily and is lower contrast than the 135 lens you usually use.
    Contrast can make a big difference in sharpness perception.


    That said, almost all system MF cameras after '60s can easily outperform even the sharpest 35mm systems, due to the big difference in frame size.

  3. #13
    MattKing's Avatar
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    You have to understand "sharpness".

    Sharpness is actually as much subjective as it is objective, and is made up of three components:
    1) acutance (aka as "edge contrast");
    2) contrast, both local contrast and overall contrast; and
    3) resolution.

    Acutance has the largest role in the way we form our observation of sharpness. The roles of contrast and resolution are less important.

    A low resolution image with very sharp edge detail will look "sharper" to most people than a high resolution image where the edges of the fine detail in the image show smoother gradation.

    The so called "sharpening" tool used in software programs like Photoshop essentially just makes the edges of details more prominent - often in a very artificial manner.

    Some lens designers, as well as some film and developer designers, make choices based on optimizing acutance at the expense of contrast or resolution.

    Spend some time looking at two similar photos - one from 35mm and the other from medium format - and over time you will realize there are other visible factors in the larger negative that offer similar pleasures to the "sharpness" offered by the 35mm versions.

    In the darkroom, unsharp masking techniques have a similar effect.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    The answer here seems pretty obvious. The larger neg will enlarge to a much larger size until it shows grain. If you're printing both the 35mm and 6x7 to the same print size the 6x7 will always look smoother and even slightly less sharp simply because it's a larger negative. Until you get to a larger print size. Enlarge both negatives to 20 x 24 and let us know what you think then. I bet you'll like the 6x7 neg better. Grain isn't always a bad thing. There is a sweet spot with a particular print size for each format where the grain gives just enough feel to promote sharpness. In 35mm it's around 5x7 or 6x9. If you enlarge your 6x7 negs to this size there won't be as much grain and they can appear soft. All that said I have no doubt the Leica glass is sharper than the sekor lenses.
    This is quite possible. With my limited amount of space I only print as large as 11x14, and rarely that large (usually 8x10).

    Quote Originally Posted by pdeeh View Post
    Do you use the same developer for both formats?
    I use Tri-X developed in HC-110 dilution B (6min @ 20C) for both formats. The same tank and reels are used.

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    If you have access to the negatives, examining them is the only way to know what is going on.
    I suppose it's time to break down and purchase a light table. Examining negatives by holding them between my loupe and a light creates uneven illumination that makes extremely detailed examination difficult.

  5. #15
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan King View Post
    I suppose it's time to break down and purchase a light table. Examining negatives by holding them between my loupe and a light creates uneven illumination that makes extremely detailed examination difficult.
    Light tables are great, but a blank, white computer screen web page is a decent substitute until you get one.

    Try this one: http://blank.org/
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  6. #16
    cliveh's Avatar
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    The reason could be related to DOF, which is greater in small formats.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  7. #17
    jp498's Avatar
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    Use the same enlarger lens for both to help narrow things down

  8. #18
    Truzi's Avatar
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    Most web browsers have this built-in. Just type into the address field:
    about:blank
    And hit "enter."

    I set my home page to that, as I don't like annoying clutter of a real site when I open the browser. Plus it works offline.
    Truzi

  9. #19
    Pioneer's Avatar
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    If the print does not look sharp to you, it probably isn't. I shoot quite a bit of medium format as well as 35mm and I have a couple of medium format cameras that are very difficult to work with. I don't know whether it is DOF, my technique, the lens isn't adjusted properly, the film isn't lying properly flat, or whatever. There are dozens of possible reasons and I don't have the time, nor the desire, to troubleshoot it. If it isn't something that is easily resolved I put the camera or the lens away and move one to the next camera. The biggest culprits in my experience are the negatives 6x7 or larger. I suspect that the film is just not being held flat enough in the camera, and this shows when I print.

    All I can tell you is this, when the print is sharp, your eyes will know it, and medium format can be just as sharp as any 35mm picture.
    Dan

    The simplest tools can be the hardest to master.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan King View Post
    I have noticed when enlarging my 6x7 negatives they show far less grain than my 35mm prints; however, the 35mm prints still appear slightly sharper. I am using the same enlarger for both, and lenses used for each format are the same Rodenstock model lens with only the obviously differing focal length. It's difficult to judge from the small contact prints if the negatives themselves are sharper or if something is going on during enlarging. I use the Mamiya with a tripod and mirror lock up, so I can't imagine technique is an issue. Out of curiosity I had a pro lab do some scans, and the results were in line with what I have been seeing from the darkroom. What gives?

    Could it be that my Leica camera lenses are simply noticeably sharper than those for my Mamiya RZ67? I'm not sure if it's a film flatness issue because within each print every area is uniformly sharp.

    P.S. Yes, I know sharpness isn't everything. I'm just really curious.
    what you describe isunlikely the casebut, I suggest you start by defining what sharpness means to you.The Mamiya on MFfilm will definately outperform the Leica on 35mm film,given the same film type and developer. the fact that the MF negative needs less enlargement alone would speak for thatAlso,Mamiya has top-notch glassMy Mamiya lenses beat my Hasselblad lenses,which beat my Nikon lenses.I never was a Leiconian,so, I cannot comment on that.Have you tried to photograph a standard target such as the USAF1951,or is this a subjective evaluation from an everydayscene?
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

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